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Neat-O's Bake Shoppe

Neat-O's Bake Shoppe owner Tony Nieto, right, gives high school students a tour Thursday of the downtown Baraboo bakery during a job shadowing event, while Cheryl Meyers, center, decorates cookies. The annual career exploration day for special education students rotates between Baraboo, Sauk Prairie, Lodi, Reedsburg and River Valley school districts each year.

JAKE PRINSEN/News Republic

Special education students from across the region had a chance to learn about potential career opportunities Thursday from Baraboo businesses.

Students from the Baraboo, Sauk Prairie, Lodi, Reedsburg and River Valley school districts toured several workplaces as part of an annual job shadowing day organized by the participating schools. Before leaving the Civic Center to explore job sites, Baraboo Mayor Mike Palm encouraged students to be inquisitive with their guides.

“This is a good opportunity for you to be able to go out, take a look at a place and see what they do and how they do it,” he said. “As you go through today, do not be afraid to ask questions when you see something that you’re not sure about.”

One group got an up close-view of WRPQ radio station, Neat-O’s Bake Shoppe and a photography studio.

Mike Ganger and Maddy Jones of WRPQ showed students the ins and outs of radio and television broadcasting, and provided a tour of the station’s downtown Baraboo studio. Jones said connecting with students was a highlight of the event.

“Music is one of those things that everyone loves,” she said. “To be able to share that with them and experience that with them and let them see how it actually works is great.”

After delving into broadcasting, the group traveled across the street to Neat-O’s Bake Shoppe, where owner Tony Nieto gave the group a behind-the-scenes tour of the Oak Street bakery. Throughout the tour, students asked Nieto about ovens, fryers and other equipment, and about his favorite parts of the job.

Baraboo High School special education teacher Shelley Mordini organized the event. She said the job shadowing experience aimed to expose students to a diverse panel of career paths. She said she hoped the experience will get them thinking about possible career goals.

“We really try to get kids exposed to different experiences while they’re out here,” Mordini said. “The goal is to have students learn about different jobs.”

Follow Jake Prinsen on Twitter @prinsenjake

Baraboo News Republic Reporter